Last post I told you all the very exciting news about getting our offer accepted on a property we had viewed. Almost immediately, the ball started rolling and we were asked to fill in forms telling the estate agent who our solicitor was and where we were getting our mortgage.
One of the reasons I started to blog about our home buying journey was to try and get my head around the process and all of a sudden we found ourselves having to make very big decisions in a very short space of time, including how we apply for the mortgage.
I hope this post will give you a brief introduction into what mortgage brokers are, how they can help you, where to find one and whether you should instead apply for a mortgage on your own.
What is a mortgage broker?
A mortgage broker is an intermediary, or ‘middle-man’ between the borrower (you) and the lender (who you will be getting your mortgage from). All mortgage brokers that operate in the UK must either be regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) or be the agent of a regulated firm.
How can a mortgage broker help me?
Mortgage brokers have access to a range of different mortgage products either with the lender they are tied to or from a panel of different lenders if they are working independently. They should have extensive knowledge of the market and be able to recommend a product that best suits your circumstances. They can also do most of the legwork when applying for a mortgage, thus saving you time and effort although it is still important to have an understanding of the application process!
Where to find a mortgage broker?
If you have friends or family who have recently purchased a home, you could ask them for recommendations. Alternatively the estate agent will probably put you in contact with their own broker. This can work out well, however be aware that the estate agent may receive a commission for this. There are websites that review various brokers too. The Money Advice Service lists a few different websites that you can use.
Check that any mortgage broker you consider working with holds suitable qualifications such as a CeMAP (Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice) or Cert MA (Certificate in Mortgage Advice).
Consider whether you want a broker who has access to a wide range of mortgage products or can get you a particularly great deal with one provider. Also check how your broker is going to be paid. They either charge an upfront fee or they may be fee-free and get paid commission from the estate agency or bank they are working for.
Going it alone?
You don’t have to use a broker and can instead do your own research and go to banks yourself and prepare the application. This option is more labour intensive but will give you the most control over the process although you may not be able to access some products.
We ultimately went with a broker and have been happy so far with the service we have received so far although we are still waiting to hear whether our mortgage has been approved!
You may also like:
- What is an Agreement in Principle (AIP) and why do I need one when buying a property?
- House hunting, part 1: A tale of three houses
- 3 Reasons Your House Offer Could Be Rejected
Did you apply for your own mortgage or use a broker? How was your experience?